Building Facade Failures – The cost of inadequate maintenance

February 2019

The exterior of your condo building requires care to ensure it continues to keep you safe, warm and dry.

The outer exterior of a condo building is known as the building envelope.  This includes the façade or walls plus roof, balconies, terraces and windows.  Despite its solid appearance, this building envelope is not nearly as indestructible as it appears.

The daily onslaught of weather – rain, sun, heat and cold – can take a toll on the building envelope.  Unrepaired building envelope damage can cause further interior and exterior damage that is costly to repair.

Sealants applied to prevent water from entering a building have a limited lifespan.  They require periodic replacement to prevent water from entering a building and causing damage.

Windows can crack, or break from impact or window frame movement.  A compromised window may appear stable until a strong wind causes it to splinter or fall and possibly injure someone.

Correcting a building façade or roof problem when it happens is the best way to save money.  In addition to preventing known damage to worsen, it can prevent internal damage that may be “denied” for reimbursement if part of an insurance claim resulting from a failure to maintain the building.

Proper maintenance of the building façade is intended to allow it to do what is expected of it for as long as possible.  Maintaining the building envelope is important for the quality of life in a condo building.

A formal inspection of the building façade by a professional may occur every seven to ten years.  Identifying and resolving minor damage requires that someone walk the property and check the façade at least a couple of times each year.  During these walks anything that appears damaged or out of place should be noted and inspected:

  • Loose, missing, protruding or cracked cement
  • Staining or discolouration of walls which is an indication of water penetration
  • Corrosion, rust or peeling is damage arising from water penetration
  • Areas where snow fails to accumulate may signify “hot spots” where roofing or insulation require repair

Condo residents should be aware of areas where moisture or dampness accumulates within their suite.  This can result from gaps appearing between exterior bricks allowing water to enter the building.

When not repaired, minor damage can worsen and end up costing much more to repair.  Infiltration of water through damaged areas can damage interior spaces.  The cost of repair may not be covered by insurance.